When we have full lives–and who among us doesn’t these days?–we try ever so diligently to schedule as much as we can as cautiously as possible.
We start our days with prioritized to-do lists, we allow ourselves time in between major events (like the birth of a child/grandchild, for revisions on a novel we don’t yet know requires revisions. We consider time to prepare for conferences, days off for birthdays–and we even allow for those unforeseen challenges like illness.
And yet stuff happens. Stuff that we couldn’t project and didn’t imagine. And this stuff knocks us on our foolish elbows and our schedules are shredded and, if we’re lucky, make good garden fodder, because they’ve sure failed us on every conceivable other front.
When we can creatively (and diplomatically) rearrange, we’re lucky. Yes, it takes time and effort but it’s doable. These times we see as irritants but we should count them as blessings. For they could be like their counterparts: the times when we can’t rearrange or do a spitting thing about changes except endure them.
And that is the purpose of this entry. There will always be these un-fixable challenges. There will always be things that occur that weren’t foreseen (and sometimes they’re actually good–wonderful opportunities!)and can’t be postponed.
We need to understand that–and I wholeheartedly include myself in that remark. Understand and accept it and rather than complaining, get on with the process of progress so that we can come out of the wind tunnel that’s become our life and reenter the calm zone, where we can function without intense stress (and irritation).
The sooner we accept the challenges–whether they are book revisions, which always arrive at the most inopportune time imaginable–an event or change that turns our routine upside down and dumps it on its ear, or life interceding and refusing to wait for a more convenient time to knock us to our knees–and press on to solutions: ways to work within the confines we’re given, the more at ease and less stressed we’ll be.
I’ve had a difficult time with this for the past two months. I allowed time for revisions in November/December which didn’t arrive until March–time I’d allotted for writing a book under deadline. Then this wonderful opportunity arose, and wow, I was thrilled–until I looked at my schedule. Add a new birth, a friend in crisis, a few additional challenges and illness to a sudden desire on my husband’s part to move, and you’ve got one writer (and wife, mother, friend, counselor) struggling to juggle everything and keep all the balls in the air in order.
This was not a good time–on my birthday, no less–for my computer–my NEW computer–to fritz out on me again.
It was not a good time for additional tasking on committees, where I feel compelled to do my fair share of the work.
It was not a good time to have a major overhaul in progress in my master bath, even though I’ve been waiting for these particular guys to assist for over a year. (Thanks to Hurricane Ivan, who didn’t come at a great time, either!)
All these things happened after a month-long illness (flu, flu, and flu), which threw a major wrench in the works.
And it wasn’t the best time for my angelic and adored daughter, who so rarely asks ANYONE for anything, to shyly ask me to edit her National Board submission. She’s working extremely hard–and has been for a year–toward her certification.
But here it all came, and it did so within the space of a short few days.
I’m sorry to have to report that I didn’t handle it all with the skill, much less with the dignity and grace, I could have. But, I didn’t. When the computer fritzed out, I fritzed out with it. For two days, I was so tense and grouchy I couldn’t stand myself. And then it hit me.
This was not helping. It wasn’t resolving anything, only making me feel lousy. In addition to the time crunch challenges, I felt god-awful. What is the purpose in this? Why am I doing it?
I resolved to stop. And right then and there, I put my foot down–on me. On my attitude. I muzzled the nag inside my head that said I’d never get everything done on time and instead became determined to do my best. If I see I’m going to fail on some aspect, I’ve set suspenses so that there’ll be tons of advance notice to anyone else who might be affected.
I chose not to worry about October today. To instead do what I could today to move me closer to October.
Seriously, think about it. It’s March. October is seven months away, and tons of revisions and upsets in routine and life are sure to happen between now and then (though I do hope for a little reprieve, considering January thru March this year).
But practically speaking, there are always going to be upsets. Always. It’s an inescapable fact of life. And as long as we remain mere mortals, we’ve just got to deal with them as they occur and not stress out or let them chew us up inside.
I know, I know. Easier said than done. But I, for one, am going to do it. I choose to do it. Because the alternative, as I’ve recently experienced firsthand totally sucks–and that is, with all candor, being said with the utmost diplomacy.
Advice: Dodge this mud puddle and keep the squishy stuff from between your toes. Accept the inevitable and resolve to do your best–and then, be at peace with it.
“Trust is earned, one book at a time.”
–Vicki Hinze https://vickihinze.com
Note: I edit books and professional correspondence. But I do NOT edit email or this blog. This is chat time for me, so if the grammar is goofed or a word’s spelled wrong, please just breeze on past it. I’d appreciate it–and salute you with my coffee cup. 🙂
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Copyright 2005. VickiHinze
(https://www.vickihinze.com), is a multi-published author, who has a free library of her articles on writing–the craft, business and life.